top of page
  • Sarah Parisi Dowlin

What is brand photography?

Updated: Nov 16, 2021

It's officially pumpkin season, the kids are settling into their back-to-school rhythm (I heard that “amen,” mama) and you’re working overtime juggling the clients. the marketing. the zoom calls. And the “are we wearing masks or not” conversations.

One thing you don’t have time for: taking any kind of strategic approach to brand building or photo-taking for your business and brand.

Deep down you know your business, your passion and your purpose is beyond any brand; that people and relationships are the key to your success -- not a logo, a photo or a font.

But, you are also smart. And talented and tenacious. And you crave for your online presence to be as strong as your in-person handshake

Introducing Brand Photography 101: our monthly email series designed to inspire, educate, and do all the heavy-thinking for you when it comes to creating purposeful imagery for your business.

Let’s start here: what exactly is a brand photography?

Brand Photography is the blend of authentic personal photography, strategic commercial photography, and pay-per-use stock photography designed to demonstrate who you are, what you do and how you serve.

Consider this:

  • Commercial photography is concept-driven imagery for big brands. It’s ultra-specific, ultra-strategic and (often) ultra-pricey. It’s great at getting national attention and terrible for actually being within reach of most small businesses and brands.

  • Personal photography is relationship-driven. It’s for weddings and family portraits and all the significant moments in-between that make life beautiful. It’s great for sending to family and friends but terrible at pulling double-duty as your LinkedIn headshot.

  • Stock photography is driven by mass-appeal. It’s designed for you – plus the 1,000 other business owners like you who need something to fill all that white space. It’s great for sharing general themes and ideas but terrible at being specific to who you are and what you do differently and better than anyone else in your zone of genius.

In contrast, brand photography is strategic imagery customized to you and your brand’s story. Brand photography is:

  • Strategic and specific.

  • Relational and professional.

  • Customized and flexible.

Used effectively, brand photography will strengthen your online presence, validate your expertise and build your clients’ trust. In other words, brand photography may just be your business’ strongest asset — after that naturally strong handshake of yours, of course.



(All the answers Alexa can’t give, except for where to find your missing socks.) “Can clients really tell my headshot is from ten years ago? I still look (mostly) the same, right?” Humans are incredibly adept at reading imagery and any inconsistencies can subtly influence our opinions – good or bad. If you show up to a meeting or a job looking vastly different from your online profile picture, you cause immediate confusion. I recommend you update your professional profile image every three years to authentically reflect who you are now.


This post was originally shared as part of our Brand Photography 101 email series. Sign up to receive future emails here.


bottom of page